Apple Has Found the Way to Beat Google Maps: Copy Its Most Innovative Feature

Apple Maps AR support 4 photos
Photo: USPTO
AR support in Apple MapsAR support in Apple MapsAR support in Apple Maps
Apple has been working 24/7 in 2020 to turn Apple Maps into a more advanced alternative to Google Maps, and a major refresh that includes traffic light and stop sign information, as well as new capabilities, is now rolling out to users across the world.
But at the same time, the Cupertino-based tech giant is also planning in the long term, and one feature the company apparently has in mind is support for AR navigation.

In other words, Apple is now turning its attention to augmented reality too, with a patent the company has received lately describing how Apple Maps would implement this new concept for navigation.

The AR support in Apple Maps would work pretty much as it does in Google Maps. Users would just have to point their phone cameras at a specific location and then get information about buildings and other points of interest, along with the distance to each of them.

A user points a handheld communication device to capture and display a real-time video stream. The handheld communication device detects geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the image capture device. The user sends a search request to a server for nearby points of interest. The handheld communication device receives search results based on the search request, geographic position, camera direction, and tilt of the handheld communication device. The handheld communication device visually augments the captured video stream with data related to each point of interest. The user then selects a point of interest to visit. The handheld communication device visually augments the captured video stream with a directional map to a selected point of interest in response to the user input,” the abstract section of the patent explains.

Interestingly, the patent isn’t entirely new. Apple filed for the listing in November 2016 and the prior publication date is March 2017, only that the documents have been revised in September 2020, possibly as Apple introduced more changes for its technology.

And despite the idea already being some four years old, AR support in Apple Maps is still nowhere to be seen, but given Apple’s commitment to improving the service with more innovative features, it should be here rather sooner than later.
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About the author: Bogdan Popa
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Bogdan keeps an eye on how technology is taking over the car world. His long-term goals are buying an 18-wheeler because he needs more space for his kid’s toys, and convincing Google and Apple that Android Auto and CarPlay deserve at least as much attention as their phones.
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